Friday, August 03, 2007

Links: Israel and Iran

Given all the sabre-rattling over Iran and the repetition of the idea that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the latest in the long line of new Hitlers, Jonathan Cook wonders about Iran's population of 25,000 Jews. If Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to enable an attack on Israel, to "wipe [it] off the map" (so goes the widely disseminated mistranslation of a Ahmadinejad speech), for the purpose of exterminating Jews--how is it that Iran's Jewish population is generally uninterested in leaving?

Also, Left I on the News wonders why those who are "so threatened by Islamic fundamentalism, and think that the hold of this religion is so powerful", ignore Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's August 2005 fatwa that said "that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons." Could it be, he suggests, that these people "know they can't talk about the power of Islamic fundamentalism in one breath, and then deny its power (in the form of a Fatwa issued by the 'Supreme Leader') in the next"?


brandon said...

>>Also, Left I on the News wonders why those who are "so threatened by Islamic fundamentalism, and think that the hold of this religion is so powerful">>'s really hard to see why people feel threatened by a particularly disturbing strand of a religion whose goal it is to harm people, buildings, ANYTHING in the name of God...

Plenty of Muslim leaders have come out against suicide bombings and that hasn't stopped much- it is disengenuous to think that because a leader comes out against something, that means people will listen. Our president sort of kind of comes out against torture and a) it doesn't stop torture and b) we know he's saying one thing and doing another...I think it's reasonable to assume that the Ayatollah is on some similar shit...

As a Jew with vaguely Palestinian sympathies, I still can't help but be blown away when Ahmadinejad's anti-semetism is excused or dismissed.

I'd tend to agree if the left gave the same kind of hyper-consideration of our current president or America as a whole or the Conservative Christian population. If as much time was spent understanding and making excuses for their moronic actions as is spent sympathizing with Muslim extremists (sorry, Fundamentalists), we might actually get somewhere.

Richard said...

Brandon -

First, the passage you quote does not ask why people think Islamic fundamentalism is a threat, it's part of a passage asking why these same people don't attend to fatwas like the one I'm referring to. You're right that leaders frequently say one thing and do another, so the fatwa in and of itself doesn't mean anything. But it should still be part of the conversation. You can't attribute mystical omnipotence to someone, claiming that people attend to the rulings of mullahs without regard to their own conscience, without attending to what those rulings actually are. The West ignores this particular kind of utterance because it does not suit its purposes (regional domination).

Second, there is no good reason for believing that the "goal" of this unquestionably "disturbing brand of religion" is "to harm people". If you think 9/11 was simply about harming people, or that various other suicide bombings are simply about harming people, then you're going to have a hard time understanding what's going on.

Third, no one with ANY credibility thinks that Iran is ANY kind of threat to Israel; in fact, it is quite the opposite. That is the main point that needs to be gotten through to people. And it is not an "excuse" of Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitism to point out the egregious uses and abuses of the mistranslation and subsequent misunderstanding of his remarks. There is no question that Ahmadinejad has said some actual things worth condemning, but it's also true that he doesn't command a lot of power in the country. But we'd rather focus on him, because he enables us to demonize Iran much more easily.

brandon said...

Their intent is to harm people, their goal is quite different. I don't think there's any justification for their specific form of violence. You do or sort of do. That's fine but its probably why I shouldn't have even posted...

The hold of the religion is real and tangible. Bin Laden and others, rich sheiks, essentially aristocrats, have the luxury to espouse, advocate and support their brand of terrorism BECAUSE they are rich and don't suffer too much from it. The Muslim who beleives in radical Islam even one who becomes a suicide bomber has generally been hustled into it. A LOT LIKE people like Falwell and even our President hustle the average Christian into thinking that gay marriage or abortion actually matters to them.

While everyone is quick to chuckle as our President speaks of radical Islam even as he is part of something similar, a weird, radical strand of Christianity, it is EQUALLY annoying that liberals with sympathies for radical Islam have contempt for Christian Conservatives and have little interest in understanding them.

I never agreed he's a threat, but I think its still frustrating that the anti-semetism is dismissed as not a big deal. Especially because, again its coming from the same people who constantly speak-out against racist, sexist, or homophopic speech.

While you summed it up well, saying that he's said some things worth condemning...I can't help but think that if the same thing were said about any number of the scapegoats the Liberals use, there would some sort of "Woah woah woah, hold on a minute...You're saying its not a big deal that he said the Holocaust didn't happen" smell me?

Richard said...

Do I think there's justification for their specific form of violence? I don't think so. I don't think there was any justification for 9/11, nor do I think that the killing of innocents is justifiable.

I agree with your second paragraph.

Who are these "liberals" with "sympathies for radical Islam"? Seriously. I am not being difficult. Do you mean me? What do you mean by sympathies? I don't agree with them or with their worldview, as far as I know, but then neither do I live under the conditions that they live under. But I don't think they pose a threat to our survival, not when seen alongside the actual threat to our survival (and theirs, and the species, in fact) posed by the United States itself.

While I agree that certain kinds of liberals are quick to make noise abut irrelevant but still racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks made by someone here, but, in fact, these, on balance, are NOT likely to be the same people saying that Ahmadinejad's remarks are not that important. Those people, I think, are very likely to spend a lot of time blustering about Ahmadinejad. I, on the other hand, tend to think that Ahmadinejad himself is not that important, that the things he says are not that important--however wrong or offensive they may be. His anti-Semitism is only "not a big deal" in the sense that it doesn't amount to much. But, since he is the person the government and the media pays attention to, he serves a specific purpose: scaring the American public into perceiving Iran as a real, immediate threat.

I don't know. It seems like you're upset about a straw figure--the "liberal" who hypocritically attacks domestic conservatives while giving foreign racists a pass and sympathizes with the enemy (basically). Those of us (less likely to be "liberal" than "leftist") who focus our critical energies not on the crimes of official enemies but instead on the crimes of our own government do so because that is a) where we live and b) where we theoretically have a say in what happens (to the extent that our country is even tangentially democratic, or to the extent that public opinion can still actually have some impact, however small)